Nashville shooting: Officers’ response in taking down shooter was ‘textbook’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Officers from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department are being praised for their quick response and decisiveness in taking down a shooter who killed three children and three adults at The Covenant School on Monday.

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Dozens of officers descended upon the private Christian school after receiving a 911 call at 10:13 a.m. CDT, The Tennessean reported. Within 14 minutes, officers were able to take down the shooter, Audrey Hale, 28, of Nashville.

“That’s what law enforcement teaches across the country,” former Los Angeles Police Department officer Marc Evans told the newspaper.

On Tuesday, police released the body camera footage of Rex Engelbert, 27, and Michael Collazo, 31, the two officers who brought down the shooter, WSMV-TV reported.

Engelbert is a four-year veteran of the police department, according to Nashville police Chief John Drake. Collazo has worked on the force for nine years. Drake told reporters that Collazo has trained as a paramedic with the department’s SWAT team, according to The Tennessean.

The video shows the officers entering the school, following the sound of the gunfire to the second floor.

After an officer can be heard shouting “reloading,” videos show Engelbert locating Hale on the second floor of the school, WSMV reported.

Engelbert fired four quick shots, dropping Hale to the floor, according to the television station. The other officers on the floor were cleared to move forward and approach Hale.

Collazo can be heard yelling “Stop moving! Stop moving!” to Hale. When the shooter continued to move, Collazo fired four more shots. Hale was later pronounced dead.

The video ends with Collazo announcing over his radio, “suspect down.”

Todd McGhee, a 24-year veteran with the Massachusetts State Police, said the Nashville officers’ response showed how acting quickly can save lives.

“I would say that under extreme circumstances, they went above and beyond,” McGhee, who trains defense tactics and gun safety, told The Tennessean. “Those first-responding officers were the model response in how active shooter response should be.

“It could have been as bad as Uvalde, based on what Hale had for firepower.”

Hale had at least two assault-style weapons -- a rifle and a pistol -- and a handgun, Drake told reporters on Monday.

Deanna Collazo DeHart, Collazo’s older sister, told Fox News Digital that her brother, who was born and raised in Nashville, was “braver than I ever imagined.”

“He really does love his job. When I sit and think about all the training and all the different classes that he does, and all the family events that he’s had to miss because of training or leaving to go through this training or this class,” DeHart said. “It all really does pay off.”

James Bernard Pratt Jr., an associate professor of criminal justice and the program coordinator of homeland security and criminal justice at Fisk University in Nashville, told The Tennessean that police response time and the quick release of information by Nashville police, including body camera footage, was likely influenced by the deadly shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in May 2022. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School.

“A lot of the times, we’ve seen historically police departments want to wait and provide as little information as possible to make sure the public is OK, but also give time to vet things,” Pratt said.

The founder of Uvalde Foundation For Kids, Michael Stevens, told WZTV that Engelbert and Collazo showed “heroic action” to “save students.” According to its website, the foundation recognizes law enforcement officials who respond to active intruder situations among schools.

Stevens, who was in Nashville, called the police action “textbook, yet heroic.”

“These officers did what they failed to do in Uvalde,” Stevens said in a statement, according to WZTV. “These officers did what they failed to do in Columbine. From the moment they arrived on the scene, officers wasted no time.”

Stevens added that the officers will receive an award from the foundation.

“We honor them for their work,” Stevens said. “Departments across the nation need to take notes.”

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